Recent Posts in holiday music
December 23, 2014
Brooklyn's Backwords, who released Nest back in September, have offered up a version of Christmas hymn "We Three Kings" that makes its premiere in this post. Here's what they have to say about their take:
Inspired by the mystical & dark themes present in both the music and lyrics, we harkened back to the woody-warm and open recording styles of the 60s in this version of the holiday classic. "We Three Kings" was recorded by candlelight in a really cold warehouse space in Bushwick.You can stream Backwords' rendition of "We Three Kings" and new album Nest (via Spotify), below.
We did our best to capture the psychedelic/dark nature of We Three Kings in this version. Happy Holidays and may there one day be peace on Earth.
You can also catch Backwords live tonight (12/23) at Glasslands where they'll play alongside Shilpa Ray, Economy Punk (OJ from Xray Eyeballs' new band) and headliners The Ugly Club. Tickets are still available. Backwords offered up a tribute to Glasslands, which closes after its New Year's Eve show, and you can read that below.
December 22, 2014
Darlene Love gave her annual performance of "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" on the Late Show on Thursday (12/18). She's been doing it since 1986, but says with David Letterman retiring from the Late Show it would be her last for television. She told him, "I would never sing it again on another show. This is where it began. But I will sing the song again." Watch Darlene's performance and her interview with Letterman below.
Darlene also played one of her annual Christmas shows at BB King's the following night (12/19), and as discussed, she has three more coming up. She'll return to the NYC venue on December 26, 27 and January 2. Tickets for all three shows are still available.
She has a few dates in other cities in early 2015 too, including West Point, NY and Englewood, NJ. All of those are listed, with the Letterman videos, below...
December 18, 2014
by Bill Pearis
LA trio DTCV are in the holiday spirit, having just released Noel Interdit, an EP songs of the season, including a Sabbath-y mashup of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" with Wham's "Last Christmas" that's pretty good (even if you're tired of bands covering that Wham song) and covers of The Who's "Can't Explain" and Johnny Hallyday's song that gives this EP its name. The whole thing is worth a listen and you can do that below. They've got more presents for you, too. DTCV's entire back catalog, including this year's very good Hilarious Heaven, are currently available as pay-what-you-want downloads at their website. The free downloads will end after the holidays.
DTCV are currently finishing up work on their next album, titled Uptime!, which will be out via Unsatisfied/Burger next year. They'll be touring this spring as well. No NYC shows have been announced yet but all dates are listed below.
December 17, 2014
Montreal duo The Muscadettes are currently holed up working on their debut album but while we wait for news on that, they've offered up holiday treat in the form of new song, "Christmas Kitty." With a twangy, B-52's lead, its a bouncy little stocking stuffer that makes its premiere in this post. You can stream it below.
The Muscadettes, who were last in NYC for CMJ, have also been making a list and checking it twice, in this case their Top 10 LPs of 2014 which they've shared with us as well. You can check that out below too.
December 12, 2014
by Bill Pearis
Former The Pains of Being Pure at Heart drummer (and Depreciation Guild frontman) Kurt Feldman spends his time these days fronting Ice Choir, his synthpop project that meticulously recreates the sounds of The Big '80s. Ice Choir will release a holiday single next week (12/16) via Cascine titled Pure Holiday with two dreamy, midtempo ballads that could've been on a Dream Academy album or a John Hughes soundtrack. We've got the premiere of both sides in this post and you can stream it below. Sales of the 7" and digital go to benefit Coalition For The Homeless.
Ice Choir will celebrate the season and the release of this single with a Pure Holiday live show at Cameo on December 18 with Maxo and DV-i. Tickets are on sale. Show flyer below.
Related, Kurt produced Dum Dum Girls' contribution to Converse's Noise To the World 2, a new song titled "On Christmas." You can stream that below too.
December 9, 2014
by Bill Pearis
Dent May, who we just mentioned appears on rapper Pell's debut album, has just released (as in, at 4:20 PM today) a holiday song, "I'll Be Stoned for Christmas." It's the story of going home for the holidays, hanging with all your old school friends, and... getting high. (Gawker has some tips for that, should you need them, btw.) Dent doesn't lay on Christmas schtick like sleighbells, so it works quite well as a very catchy pop song. Add it to your family's holiday playlist and hope mom isn't listening to the lyrics that closely.
by Bill Pearis
Alt-rock vet Midge Ure released a new solo album this year and participated in the '80s-nostalgic Retro Futura tour, and has plans to return to North American for a headlining acoustic tour in the new year. Those dates include two nights at NYC's Iridium Room on February 26 & 27. Tickets for those shows are on sale now. All dates are listed below.
While his bands Ultravox and Visage were never that popular in America, nearly everyone probably knows one of his songs -- even if you didn't realize it. He penned Band Aid's 1984 charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?" with Bob Geldof. That song, as you may know, was re-recorded with a new cast of voices, and a few lyrics updated, for its 30th anniversary. Midge appears on the new version as well and you can listen to that, if that's what you want to do, below.
December 8, 2014
Landlady's Adam Schatz @ DbA's final week (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Landlady are throwing a "Holiday Spectacular" tonight (12/8) at Mercury Lounge which features performances from Celestial Shore, Xenia Rubinos, Luke Temple, Invisible Familiars, Zongo Junction, Cantina, Star Rover, Relatives, Sam Cohen, Zula, not to mention Rubblebucket's horn section, Cassandra Jenkins, The Westerlies and Isaac Gillespie. Tickets are on sale and proceeds go to Bushwick School of Music, a non-profit music education program run by Greg Albert (Celestial Shore), Carlos Hernandez (Ava Luna) and Lydia Velichkovski and that "provides music lessons and ensembles to kids who cannot afford extracurricular music lessons." Landylady main man Adam Schatz says this about the festive evening:
I believe the true greatness of the holiday season is that, amongst the madness of commercial oppression and Mariah Carey, we are forced to consider and value those we call family. This show is about those considerations and values. The Landlady Holiday Spectacular is about coming together and being an extraordinary sum of our own parts, because it is surely worth doing that at least once a year.In addition to tonight's show, Landlady have released a holiday song, "Please Come Home For Christmas," which features vocals from Sylvan Esso's Amelia Meath. It's part of their label Hometapes' annual holiday mixtape which also features Ivan Howard (The Rosebuds, GAYNGS), Made of Oak (Nick Sanborn of Sylvan Esso), Invisible Familiars, Star Rover, Josh Millrod and more. You can stream that below and download purchases also go toward the Bushwick School of Music.
Speaking of Celestial Shore, they headline Brooklyn Night Bazaar Saturday (12/13) with on Grooms, The Teen Age, and The Glazzies. That show is free and you can skip the line by RSVPing.
December 4, 2014
"We're not birds, we're a jug band!"
It's that time of year again. You can't seem to walk a block without seeing Christmas lights or hearing holiday favorites (all ten of them) from every passing storefront. If you're looking for something beyond "Baby, It's Cold Outside" for the hundredth time, there's no shortage of holiday-themed shows over the next few weeks. (Though some of them, however, may include that old chestnut.) Here's a few of them:
Sloan Wainwright is bringing the full band version of her intimate project to City Winery on Sunday (12/7) for a special holiday-centric show with the similarly minded Peter Stampfel & The Ether Frolic Mob (who plays new Greenpoint venue Aviv the night before) as well as performances from Cosy Sheridan, Muppeteer Peter Linz, Sam McTavey and more. Tickets for the show are on sale now. You can also catch Sloan at her niece and nephew Rufus and Martha Wainwright's holiday shows at Town Hall later in the month, one of which features, among many many others, Cyndi Lauper who's doing her own guest-filled holiday show.
Old 97's lead singer and prolific solo artist Rhett Miller is hosting his second annual holiday shindig at City Winery on December 16. The "Holiday Extravaganza" features music from Miller and comedy from Jen Kirkman, Dave Hill, Wyatt Cenac and more. Tickets for the show are on sale now.
Like last year, B.B. King Blues Club is hosting a slew of shows dedicated to the holiday celebrations. There's the club's annual Christmas party hosted by Ronnie Spector on December 20 (tickets), and four shows from another Phil Spector protege, Darlene Love, on December 19, 26, 27 and January 2. Tickets for all four shows are still available.
For those celebrating the other major religious holiday during this season, a cappella group The Maccabeats are having their annual Hanukkah show at B.B. King's on December 25 with support from Y-Studs. Tickets are on sale now.
Another option is "Christmas for the Jews" at City Winery. The stand-up show features sets from Avi Liberman, Jon Fisch, Cory Kahaney and more. Sold out.
Meanwhile, Matisyahu plays his annual "Festival of Light" show on December 20 at Best Buy Theater. Tickets for that show are still available.
What else? You can catch Dave Hill, his band Valley Lodge, Todd Barry, Janeane Garofalo, Bridget Everett, Chris DiStefano, Larry Murphy and more at "Meet Me Under The Mistletoe and Tell Me All Your Secrets" on December 10 at The Bell House. Tickets for the show are still available.
As discussed, there's a few other holiday shows at The Bell House including Norah Jones' country band Puss 'N' Boots, The Sweetback Sisters, Eliot & Ilana Glazer, Wasabassco's 70's Christmas Carol and what's sure to be a very magical show presented by Harry & the Potters.
Bridget Everett will also perform at drag king legend Murray Hill's holiday show with Carmine Covelli (who's in Bridget's band The Tender Moments and The Julie Ruin), and burlesque performers Perle Noire, Trixie Little and Mr. Gorgeous on December 13 at Le Poisson Rouge. Tickets for that show are still available.
Another Christmas comedy show is Dan St. Germain's Christmas Spectacular at Union Hall on December 16 with sets from Brooks Wheelan, Jared Logan, Kevin Barnett, Jacqueline Novak and Team Submarine. Tickets for that show are still available.
Also at Union Hall, on December 14 (tix) is a Christmas edition of their monthly "Muppet Vault" series where they'll show classic holiday TV special Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas (done here as a singalong) and other appropriate clips from Muppetland.
For a night of music and comedy, there's Aimee Mann & Ted Leo's Christmas tour stop at Town Hall on December 13 with Fred Armisen, The Bangles' Susanna Hoffs and geek-rocker Jonathan Coulton. Tickets for that show are still available.
Other previously mentioned holiday shows include Nick Lowe, John Waters, and the stacked WFMU Holiday Cheer Benefit with Conor Oberst, Natalie Merchant, The Felice Brothers, Laura Marling, The Lone Bellow and Jonathan Wilson.
For a little more traditional Holiday fun there's How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical at The Theater at MSG from December 5 through December 28. (tix).
Speaking of Emmet Otter, check out some great bloopers/outtakes from that Christmas special below...
December 2, 2014
Walter Martin & Kat Edmonson at Joe's Pub in May (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
It's that time of year, when artists put out one-off holiday singles to get everyone in the mood for winter festivities. Walter Martin, formerly of The Walkmen, has delivered an early present to his fans in the form of "I Walk So Slow (Under The Mistletoe)," a collaboration with singer-songwriter Kat Edmonson.
The track eschews much of the holiday cliches in favor of a simple tale of two individuals catching eyes across a party and hoping to meet under the mistletoe. The song follows the more lighthearted approach of Martin's kid-friendly solo debut We're All Young Together from earlier this year, loaded with whimsy and conversational lyricism. Check out the song's stop-motion lyric video in this post.
Martin and Edmonson are celebrating the release of the track with a special holiday show at Joe's Pub on December 18 (where Martin, Edmonson and many others played earlier in the year). Tickets for that show are on sale now.
Check out the lyric video for "I Walk So Slow (Under The Mistletoe)" below...